Currently I have upgraded my computer and bought it a fresh new 3TB hard drive. My previous setup had these disks:

  • 74GB
  • 160GB (2 partitions, the first partition with Windows 7)
  • 650GB (3 partitions)

After the PC upgrade I only could reinstall the Windows 7 again to the smaller one (160GB; the 3TB one was bought few days after the PC upgrade and Windows reinstall).

Currently I want to get rid of these old (and slow) disks (74 and 160 GB), but I need first to move the Windows 7 installation (and boot) to the 650GB one (I do not want to put it on 3TB right now). I do not want to spend my time again with installing a fresh Windows 7 and all the drivers and software, as it is time consuming and time is money.

Is there any way how can I proceed? Can I do this with the Windows default software tools or should I look for a third-party (best if free) one?

Please, take in mind the answer in this question could help me, but it is too technical (just image your Windows tells me I should create a disk image, but I have no idea how), so I'd appreciate if you could explain it step-by-step, like to a beginner.

  • If you don't care about keeping the partitions on the 650GB drive, you should be able to use Clonezilla and image the 160GB to the 650GB. – ernie Jan 16 '14 at 23:45
  • partedmagic also works. Boot from CD after its made and run the partition editor. From there you can copy and paste the partition any way you want. Make sure to reactive the boot flag under manage flags. – cybernard Jan 17 '14 at 1:37
  • @ernie No, I do not care. All data from 650GB will be moved to new 3TB one (or deleted), so the 650GB should be clean'n'clear before doing so. Is this CloneZilla a freeware and is it intuitive to use? – shadyyx Jan 17 '14 at 8:41
  • @cybernard I'd rather not to create any boot CD and operate from it until necessary... I'll try that CloneZilla first as it is free... – shadyyx Jan 17 '14 at 8:48
  • Hmm, maybe I'll finally stick with Paragon Backup & Recovery Free or Macrium Reflect Free Edition or DriveImage XML... Anybody knows how to reach the target using any of these tools? – shadyyx Jan 17 '14 at 9:17

Best course of action is to download the Microsoft assessment and deployment kit, and from the commandline, build a winPE boot disc, burn this disc, boot to this disk, capture an image with dism to another disk, format the new disk from the command line, copy that image to the disk you want to use and use BCDedit from the command line to configure the system to boot from that disk. If this sounds like more work than you're interested in, chances are it is, just reinstall windows on the new HDD.

  • I may understand your answer but this person will not able to if the link to question is out of there league your answers is in another galaxy in outer space. – cybernard Jan 17 '14 at 1:42
  • Hmm, well thank You very much for Your answer. I am not an idiot as @cybernard is denoting. Though I understand what shall I do, I have no clue how to use BCDedit. Anyway, this is too much steps in order to using some commercial tools. I just do not want to buy them as this will be just one-time job so why should I use buy a SW that I will never use anymore (at least in next few years). – shadyyx Jan 17 '14 at 8:45
  • exactly, all the tools I'm suggesting a free Microsoft tools, and if its going to be this much of a hassle or cost money, just reinstall windows. – MDT Guy Jan 17 '14 at 13:05

I have used RawCopy - freeware that runs as a single executable - to copy from one disk to another. I did this when I replaced my failing 80 GB Media Center hard drive with a 1 TB drive, I did this last week to upgrade a client's computer from 320 GB to 1 TB, and I also did it to my server last week to go from a 120 GB to 1TB. It works great, it's fast, and bad sectors - if you have any - don't disturb the copy process much or cause it to fail. I highly recommend the utility.

Download here (without the installer) http://www.roadkil.net/program.php/P22/Raw%20Copy

After copying the drive, your existing partition will be the same size but you can go into disk management and easily expand it.

And you cannot use the 3 TB drive as your only disk UNLESS your system supports UEFI instead of BIOS - BIOS has a limit of 2 TB for a drive that boots... other drives can be added and used (they must be designed GPT drives though). If you attempt to use the 3 TB as the only drive, then the system would only see it as a 750ish GB drive OR would see 2 TB (maybe just over) and the remainder, even in Windows, would be unusable.

As for boot disks, you should use one, but you don't need to go through some extensive creation exercises - copy the RawCopy program to a flash drive, boot off your Win7/Vista/8/2008/2012 DVD and press F10 when you get the setup screen. A command prompt should appear - in the command prompt, find the flash drive and just type the RawCopy executable name - the interface is pretty self explanatory.

(WARNING - whenever mucking around with disks and partitions - MAKE A BACKUP!)


Easiest way is to use the linux dd command:

Warning: this will completely erase your 650 gig HD

  • Get a lightweight linux like puppy : http://puppylinux.org
  • Install it to a usb drive : http://tuxboot.org.
  • Connect your Harddisks to the system.
  • Startup the system on linux via USB boot.
  • Start a terminal.
  • Type fdisk -l to ascertain where the disks are, you can know them by their size.
  • In the terminal type dd if=/dev/sdx of=/dev/sdy where sdx and sdy are the original disk and the 650 gig disks respectively.
  • Wait for it to end.
  • Shutdown and boot up from the new disk.
  • To reclaim the unused disk space you can run Windows partition tool to expand the disk size.

You might wanna be careful with this thing, any mistake will junk your data!


As mentioned, I'd image the whole existing OS drive and then lay that image down on the 650 GB drive. Note that this means you'll be taking all the contents from one drive and copying them to another, blowing away any existing data on the 650 GB drive.

There are many tools that allow for imaging and restoring images. I tend to use Clonezilla as it's open source and works well. Note that Clonezilla won't automatically grow the partition to fill the larger drive, but that can easily be done from Windows.

There are plenty of other disk imaging tools available, some that will handle resizing the partition auto-magically. Basically any tool that allows for a whole disk image should be sufficient.

After cloning the disk, you'll need to update the boot order in your BIOS to boot off the 650 GB drive instead of the existing drive.

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